By Radio New Zealand
Scorned by Rugby Australia, controversial rugby star Israel Folau could be offered a place in the Tongan national side.
Former Wallaby Toutai Kefu is the head coach of Tonga and says Folau would be welcome in his team.
“I’d love that. I think he would get a lot of satisification out of playing for Tonga,” Kefu told the ABC.
Folau is waiting to find out just what penalty will be imposed by Rugby Australia after an independent panel found him guilty of a “high level” breach of his contract – for his controversial social media posts.
Folau’s parents are Tongan, but Kefu acknoweldges World Rugby rules mean he would be unable to play on International stage for three years.
“He could definitely be available for the next World Cup (France 2023),” he said.
“If he does get dismissed by Rugby Australia, he could play in the UK or France, there is plenty of top level competition for him.”
Kefu admits Folau would need to take a massive pay cut.
“Tongan Rugby Union has no money, we are 100 per cent funded by world rugby.
“We cant afford to pay our players. So our players they play for pride of jersey, they play to representative their families, they play to go to a World Cup,” Kefu said.
Another option for Folau could be Australian billionaire Andrew Forrest’s Global Rapid Rugby competition.
Forrest started the competition after Western Force were axed from Super Rugby and it’s, is set to expand next year and the tournament is seeking star signings.
The Australian has reported there’s interest in making Folau the marquee signing of one of the overseas clubs – Hong Kong-based South China Tigers, Singapore-based Asia Pacific Dragons, Fiji and Samoa are involved in a showcase 2019 tournament.
This article is republished under Kaniva’s content partnership agreement with Radio New Zealand.